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A True Story of How I Made a Lifelong Friend While Traveling (33 years ago)

In 1967, after graduating from Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, I moved to San Francisco, where I attended summer school during the flower-child days and lived on Fulton Avenue, near the Haight-Ashbury district. That fall, I reluctantly moved on, and made arrangements to travel from San Francisco to southeast Ohio to attend Ohio University.

It was a last minute arrangement to attend training for the Teacher Corps program at Ohio U., and so I had not made plans for where I would be living or even for where I would spent the first night in Athens. When I arrived in Columbus, Ohio, I had to catch a limo from the airport to the bus station for the final segment of my cross county trek. The limo was crowded, and when the driver turned a sharp corner, the hair drier belonging to the woman sitting next to me rolled onto my feet.

This led to some initial conversation, introducing ourselves, and we soon realized that both of us were heading to Ohio U. for graduate school. So when we boarded the same bus, we decided to sit together and chatted for the next two hours. It happened that both of us were originally from Iowa, and we had a great deal in common. Since I had no specific destination upon arrival in Athens, I accepted her invitation to come with her to her dorm and see if there might be a guest room where I could spent the night.

Mary's assigned roommate had not yet registered at the dorm, so she invited me to stay in her room. As it happened to work out, the original roommate never did show up. So I became Mary's roommate. Although I moved out of the dorm after completing the first semester, we later shared an apartment in Athens with a third friend, Sandy, and after Mary completed her degree, she and I moved back to Iowa, where we both worked in the school systems in Mason City.

Though we are no longer roommates and now live in different states, Mary Gallagher and I have kept in touch, and developed a lasting friendship that has deepened over the years. I was the maid of honor in her wedding and even recently, when I needed a lengthy period of rest a few years ago, I spent four months with Mary and her husband John, who graciously shared their lovely home in Minneapolis with me.




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